Adrien Begrand of MSN's metal music section Headbang recently conducted an interview with drummer Tomas Haake of Swedish Swedish experimental extreme metallers MESHUGGAH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Headbang: "ObZen" felt like a combination of everything MESHUGGAH had done prior to that, but the new album ["Koloss"] feels like you've deliberately tried to expand your sound even more. Was this the case?
Tomas Haake: We definitely pushed ourselves hard with "ObZen", too, but as you said maybe that one feels even more like a flirtatious thing with the stuff we were doing earlier on and the stuff we grew up with. I still feel there's some of that on this one too, with the different tunings, and a couple of the songs are actually written for six-string guitar and not all of them being really down-tuned eight-stringed stuff. That's definitely to get that old-school thrash vibe in there, even though the music is different, of course. There's definitely a little bit of that going on this album, too. But apart from that, we basically tried to create something that we find intriguing. We always try to find new ways of writing our own music, so to speak, to see if there's an additional lateral movement, a sideways step that we can take for ourselves to feel that we did something new with this one and that we pushed ourselves into doing something that came out cool and refreshing. That's kind of what we always aim for, and this time it came out like this.
Headbang: I remember hearing how you wanted to take a more organic approach with this one, rehearing your songs more beforehand. Did you actually wind up doing that?
Haake: We wanted to do it like that, definitely. We ended up not doing it like that after all, basically because it's so easy to fall back into the routines of the last two albums, how we're used to doing things. There was only one track on this album, I guess it's a step forward from some of the previous stuff, the track "Swarm", which was a track that we actually rehearsed as a whole band, where we came with suggestions and made changes to it as a band. We kind of feel like we want to do everything like that, but at the same time we're so accustomed to doing everything on computers. That is also a very fast way for us to do it, just because we're accustomed to doing it that way. But at the same time you can lose a little bit of that feeling of you actually being a band, from when you're out playing. So that was the attempt, to bring in more of that vibe back. We tried. And failed. [laughs] But it's all good, we were still able to put this thing together, and I think it came out pretty cool. The organic side of things is at least there sound-wise I think. It's definitely a warmer album. Even though it's very brutal, the drums sound more organic, the guitar tone is a bit less in the digital soundscape. It all depends a bit on what track you're listening to as well, but I definitely think that it sounds organic, more visceral. And for some weird reason that kind of makes it even more brutal. Read the entire first part of the chat at Headbang.